NEW YORK - A decade ago, investors snubbed dividends as a sign of companies incapable of growth, but since 2003, dividends have become a symbol of security and strength. And they're back in demand.

How long that will last, though, may depend on whether the 2003 tax laws that reduced the rate investors pay on these payouts are extended past 2008, when they are set to expire. If they are extended, the next question is whether Congress goes for a quick-short-term fix, as expected, or a long-term overhaul, according to experts.

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